Guinataang monggo

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By Chef Ed Dychauco

Pots and Pans

Thursday, June 12, 2014

HERE comes another coconut milk dish that is simple to prepare, satisfying and full of protein.

A very affordable staple among Pinoys here and abroad, monggo (or mung beans) and coconut milk, plus a few spices is all that is needed to come up with this ordinary yet well-loved food item.

Also known as Moong beans, this is also a principal ingredient in several Asian countries like India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia.


Mung beans are small green legumes. They are seeds from the pods of plants in the Leguminosae family.

Like many other legumes, this bean can be eaten raw when sprouted, or else eaten cooked with the skin on or off.

People who adore hopia would definitely know this. A Chinese delicacy but has become a Pinoy favorite.

It is also made into paste filling for rice dumplings, butchi, and other delicacies.

Growing up, I was also exposed to the sweet monggo “soup” in Chinatown which I haven’t eaten for so long.

It is also blended with milk or coconut milk, sweetened and served as a cold or hot beverage.

When the monggo beans are germinated, they become what we call “monggo sprouts” or togue/towgue and usually added to salads or lumpia.

This is a popular alternative for vegetarians and those on strict budget primarily because it is packed with a lot of proteins, potassium, fiber, Magnesium and B vitamins.

They are also excellent for the dieter since one cup (250 ml) of mung beans is less than 30 calories. How about that?

Basic ingredients for those on a very tight budget: some oil (although this can be omitted if the plan is to just simmer everything!), a little garlic, little onion, some salt and pepper, mongo beans and lots of water.

To improve the flavor, texture and over-all taste and presentation, any or all of the following can be included: more garlic and onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, meat (usually, pork, chicken or beef), seafood like fish (fresh, dried), shrimp, squid, shells, octopus, etc.), vegetables like kang kong, spinach, bok choy, celery, watercress, eggplant, malunggay (moringa) and many other.

But since we are talking of ‘guinataan,’ definitely we need coconut milk! The thicker the better, the more, the tastier! Yum!

But then we don’t want to over-power our mung beans dish with these supporting meats and vegetables, so we try to go back to the basic plus a few more.

Minced garlic and sliced onions sautéed in hot oil with the addition of some sliced meat till the meat changes its color.

Next, add tomatoes, then the mung beans with enough water to soften them, pour coconut milk and let simmer till beans are of the consistency you want (can be chunky to very soft!).

Season with salt and pepper, and commercially prepared seasoning mix will do wonders.

A few pieces of ‘sili’ added would be blissful.

If desired, add green leafy vegetables towards the end or just before serving, enough to soften them only.

Serve hot with rice. This can also be topped with some chicharon or pork cracklings. ‘Bagnet,’ maybe?

If made with lots of water or coconut milk, then this can be served as soup.

Whichever, I will gladly devour this dish, anytime, anywhere. What about you?

A sure hit for all of us!


Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 12, 2014.


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